Hibachi Buffet Inc. to Pay $117,152 in Backpay for Violations of FLSA

Friday, May 9, 2014

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Workers at the Hibachi Buffet Inc. will be paid a total of $117,152 in back wages following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The investigation revealed violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions. Kitchen workers typically worked 60 hours per week for a fixed monthly salary, often earning far less than the legally required minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Investigators from the division’s Minneapolis District Office determined that the company paid kitchen workers a fixed salary that did not cover minimum wage for all hours worked. The company also failed to ensure that wait staff earned minimum wage. The company also failed to pay workers at one and one-half times their hourly rate for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek and maintain accurate and complete records of hours worked by kitchen employees.

Investigators in this case conducted interviews in several languages to obtain accurate information about hours worked and wages paid. The Wage and Hour Division is a multilingual organization, with staff fluent in nearly 50 languages and a language interpretive service that can assist with translating more than 170 languages.

Hibachi Buffet signed a settlement agreement with the department in which it agreed to install and use a digital time clock and contract with a public accounting firm to perform biannual audits of the company’s employment and pay practices.

The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Additionally, the law requires employers to maintain accurate time and payroll records, and prohibits retaliation against employees who exercise their rights under the law.

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